for those who may be wondering:
We are hoping to really start buttoning things up with the house deal sometime this weekend. Basically, if you haven't done it before, the sale of a house involves several steps--and until the "closing" is complete, your house isn't really sold. We made it through the first step, which was the home inspection. The buyers looked over the report and decided not to ask us to fix anything (which is good, because we pretty much told them, "look, we're giving you a great price, but you're getting the place as-is". The next step is the appraisal. In our case, our buyers are getting a government loan, so there are some contingencies in place that you may not have to deal with in the case of a conventional loan. Because the government is granting the loan, they want to make sure there are no major problems with the property before they approve the loan. We had to sign a statement agreeing that our buyers had the right to walk away from the deal if the house does not appraise for at or above the sale price. In addition, the government may require certain repairs to be made before they'll approve the loan. So right now, we are simply waiting to hear the results of the appraisal that was done last weekend. We were hoping to have heard earlier this week, but the process is taking longer than we expected.
Once we get the news on the appraisal (assuming all is good), we will move forward at blazing speed in terms of getting a contract together on the house we want to buy. (Lever, it's not in Maine! It's still here in CT, about 45 minutes from where we live now).
So keep your fingers crossed for us (or, if you're Catholic, pray to that wacky St. Joseph guy). Here's hoping I have another--more exciting--update within a few days...